Patients scheduled for back surgery are rightfully concerned about their recuperation, and how they will care for themselves once home after the spinal surgery procedure. This is an important subject to discuss with your spine surgeon. Some general rules apply to all patients following back surgery. First and foremost, plan on taking an active role in your recovery, and that starts by getting into shape before your back surgery. With your surgeon, physical therapist and others, discuss what activities you can engage in as well as restrictions you need to observe. If you don’t have someone who can provide the assistance you will need in the first days after your return home following back surgery, a home attendant will be provided for you. You will be prescribed pain medications, which help you heal by letting your muscles relax, instead of contracting and writhing in reaction to pain. Let your body rest. You may require frequent naps, as your body recovers from the stress of surgery, and narcotic pain medications induce drowsiness.
But pain medications can also have negative side effects, and if continued their use will prolong recovery time and lead to dependency. Narcotic pain medications cause constipation. Weaning yourself off pain medication should be a recuperation goal. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids during this recovery period. You should be off pain medication three months after surgery. Walking is the best physical activity during the first six weeks post surgery. Start slowly and work up to 30 minutes at least twice a day. Avoid twisting and bending during this time, and avoid lifting, pushing or pulling anything that weighs more than ten pounds.
Another step you can take to ease post-surgery care is select the procedure with the best outcomes and fewest post-surgical complications for the treatment of your condition. For example, the TOPS (Total Posterior Solution) System has been shown in clinical studies around the world to provide better clinical outcomes than spinal fusion back surgery following spinal decompression therapy. TOPS is an approved implant that offers a means of stabilizing the spine after spinal decompression treatment. Unlike spine fusion surgery, the TOPS implant preserves independent movement of the vertebrae. Making sure you choose the procedure with the best clinical outcomes can help ensure you’ll have the best possible recovery.